Manchester United winger Antony has returned to training with the club and is available for selection again while police investigations into alleged domestic violence continue.
The Brazil international agreed to take a leave of absence from the club while he spoke to police in his homeland, and later back in England, to respond to the allegations, which he strongly denies.
On September 29, United confirmed the player would resume training at their base in Carrington and would be considered for matches in due course. The club stressed this decision would be “kept under review” as police investigations continue.
“Since allegations were first made in June, Antony has co-operated with police inquiries in both Brazil and the UK, and he continues to do so,” United said.
“As Antony’s employer, Manchester United has decided that he will resume training at Carrington, and be available for selection, while police inquiries proceed. This will be kept under review pending further developments in the case.
“As a club, we condemn acts of violence and abuse. We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”
The 23-year-old was accused of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend. Further allegations of assault were later made by a different woman. Antony has denied all the allegations and told a Brazilian TV station “I never attacked any woman” and “the truth will come out”.
He was dropped from the Brazil squad due to the allegations that he abused his former girlfriend. The Brazil Football Confederation (CBF) said the claims needed “to be investigated”. In a statement issued in response to an expose by Brazilian outlet UOL, the CBF said it had acted to safeguard all parties involved.
The statement read: “Due to the facts that became public this Monday involving Manchester United player Antony, and which need to be investigated, and in order to safeguard the alleged victim, the player, the Brazilian team and the CBF, the organisation informs that the athlete has been withdrawn from the Brazilian team.”
Domestic violence allegations were initially made against the former Ajax forward in June. Further accusations from the same complainant emerged on September 4.
The allegations made by his ex-girlfriend are under investigation in Brazil, while a complaint was also made to Greater Manchester Police.
When will Antony return for Man United?
On Wednesday, September 6, United issued a brief statement on their website.
“Manchester United acknowledges the allegations made against Antony and notes that the Police are conducting enquiries,” it read.
“Pending further information, the club will be making no further comments.
“As a club, we are taking this matter seriously, with consideration of the impact of these allegations and subsequent reporting will have on survivors of abuse.”
United later confirmed in a statement their agreement with Antony to delay his return, as part of his intention to speak with police and address the allegations, with the break sanctioned by Erik ten Hag.
United confirmed on September 29 that Antony had been fully co-operating with police inquiries and would be allowed back to train and play once more.
Ahead of their Champions League home game against Galatasaray on October 3, Ten Hag confirmed Antony was “in consideration” for his matchday squad, having not featured since the 3-1 Premier League defeat at Arsenal on September 3.
🚨 Ten Hag: “Antony will be considered to play tomorrow. Yesterday was the first time he participated in team training”.
“It’s good news to have Antony back”. pic.twitter.com/PS1HEtCbC6
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 2, 2023
Antony allegations and the player’s response
Antony’s former partner has accused him of physical assault and threatening to kill her.
The report by UOL alleged attacks on June 1 last year when she was pregnant with their child, January 15 this year, and May 8. She also claimed Antony injured her with a “headbutt” and damaged a silicon breast implant, which required corrective surgery.
She provided UOL with photographs and WhatsApp messages to corroborate her story.
In response, Antony posted a social media statement to say he was a “victim” of “false allegations”.
“Out of respect for my fans, friends and family, I feel obligated to speak publicly about the false accusations I have been a victim of. From the beginning I have handled this issue seriously and with respect, providing the due clarifications to the police authority.
“The police inquest is under the cover of justice and therefore I cannot make its content public. However, I can say with confidence that the accusations are false and the evidence already produced and more to be produced show that I am innocent of the accusations made.”
Antony was further accused of assault by another woman of causing her to bang her head when he allegedly pushed her against a wall.
He appeared on Brazilian television to deny the allegations and insisted he was confident his name would be cleared and agreed to take a leave of absence from United on September 10.
Is Antony being investigated by the police?
Greater Manchester Police issued a statement, as reported by ESPN, relating to the allegations made by Antony’s ex-girlfriend.
It read: “Greater Manchester Police is aware of the allegations made and enquiries remain ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this report.”
Daniel Bialski, the lawyer for Antony’s ex-partner, told Globo: “The only thing she wants is that, for everything she went through, he [Antony] be punished.
“I trust a lot in the investigation of the Civil Police and I wait for him to be prosecuted for the crimes he committed.”
Antony age, career, contract
Antony, 23, joined United from Ajax for an initial €95 million on August 30 last year, signing a contract at Old Trafford that runs until June 2027.
He scored in each of his first three Premier League appearances and finished the campaign with eight goals and three assists across all competitions as the Red Devils won the Carabao Cup, reached the FA Cup final and qualified for the Champions League.
In 2023/24, he is yet to add to those numbers, but his output under Ten Hag at Ajax was impressive.
Antony joined the Amsterdam club from Sao Paulo for €18m in July 2020 and scored 24 goals in 82 appearances, laying on 22 assists.
A league and cup double in 2020/21 was followed by Ajax retaining their Eredivisie title the following season.
His performances in Holland earned Antony a place in Brazil’s squad for the Tokyo Olympics, where the Selecao won the gold medal. At full international level, he has 15 caps and two goals.